The Western Washington Intravenous Streptokinase in Acute Myocardial Infarction Trial randomized 368 patients with symptoms and signs of acute myocardial infarction of less than 6 h duration to either conventional care or 1.5 million units of intravenous streptokinase. The mean time to randomization was 209 min and 52% of patients were randomized within 3 h of symptom onset. Quantitative, tomographic thallium-201 infarct size and radionuclide ejection fraction were measured at 8.2 +/- 7.5 weeks in 207 survivors who lived within a 100 mile radius of a centralized laboratory. Overall, infarct size as a percent of the left ventricle was 19 +/- 13% for control subjects and 15 +/- 13% for treatment patients (p = 0.03). For anterior infarction in patients entered within 3 h of symptom onset, infarct size was 28 +/- 13% in the control group versus 19 +/- 15% for the treatment group (p = 0.09). Left ventricular ejection fraction was 47 +/- 15% in the control versus 51 +/- 15% in the treatment group (p = 0.08). For anterior infarction of less than 3 h duration, the ejection fraction was 38 +/- 16% in the control versus 48 +/- 20% in the treatment group (p = 0.13). By statistical analysis incorporating the nonsurvivors, p values for all of these variables were less than or equal to 0.08. There was no benefit for patients with inferior infarction or for anterior infarction of greater than 3 h duration. It is concluded that intravenous streptokinase, when given within 3 h of symptom onset to patients with anterior infarction, reduces infarct size and improves ventricular function.